Switzerland can be discovered by trains, buses, boats and scenic mountain trains. Use the Swiss half fare card to get one month’s of half-price travel, while children under 16 travel free of charge when accompanied by an adult who is a holder of a Swiss Family Card.
Swiss Half Fare Card
This card provides savings up to 50% off for travel on most trains, boats, and buses in Switzerland
- 50% discount on most trains, buses and boats for one month
- Issued as a paper document
- Discounts off 1st and 2nd class travel
- Free Swiss Family Card: Children under 16 travel for free with a parent or legal guardian
WING SHAN Y
How does it work?
Rail Passes in 3 steps
1. Pick the right rail pass
Rail passes can be booked for travel in one specific country or you can choose one of a few pre-selected country/region combinations. Extensive travel plans? Try the Eurail Global Pass offering train travel in 33 different countries - including Great Britain.
Once you've selected your pass, its price will depend on the class of service selected, passenger type, and the number of rail travel days.
2. Reserve your seats
Most trains in Switzerland do not require reservations. You can simply board with your rail pass and take any open seat.
3. Activate and travel
Your pass was pre-validated at the time of booking, it is now valid for use for the duration you selected. You're all set and ready to explore.
More than just trains
Main discounts and bonuses in Swiss Half Fare Card
- 50% discount when travelling on board trains.
- 50% discount when using urban public transport in 75 towns.
- Free travel for children under 16, accompanied by a parent, holder of a Swiss Family Card.
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Common Questions, Simple Answers
Q. What's the difference between a rail pass and a train ticket?
A. A rail pass and a train ticket are two completely different types of travel documents.
A train ticket is valid for a single journey between two cities. Many tickets also include a reservation, which mean that they are valid only for a specific train, on a specific date and at a given time. To learn more about tickets, read our article: tickets explained.
A rail pass, on the other hand, is good for travel in an entire geographical area (1 country, 2 countries or more). With it you can take as many train trips as you want within that geographical area, for as many travel days as you purchased, within a set period of time (the pass validity period).
Q. How do I find my train?
A. Finding your train is fairly simple. You’ll see large Departure and Arrival boards located in the center of most stations. Some stations also have TV monitors listing upcoming departing trains.
If you have a train ticket or rail pass with a reservation, simply match the train number and departure time on your reservation or ticket to the train number on the departure board. The platform number where you should go will be listed right next to it.
If you’re traveling with open train tickets or a rail pass and no reservation, then you don’t have a specific train and seat assigned to you. If you’ve done your research in advance, you probably already know the time and train number of the train you want to take, so just look for it on the board. If you decided to show up at the station with the intention of taking the first train departing for where you want, make sure to check with a station agent and find out if that train requires a reservation.
Q. What should I do if my train ticket is lost or stolen?
A. If your paper ticket is lost or stolen, you’ll need to purchase a new one in order to travel.
If you purchased the Rail Protection Plan™ and your ticket is covered, you may be eligible for reimbursement if you meet the requirements of this plan, this includes filing a police report within 24 hours of the loss or theft and purchasing replacement train ticket.
Q. Can I get a refund for unused days on my rail pass?
A. No. Partially used rail passes cannot be refunded. Only unused rail passes that have not been activated are eligible for a refund within the allowed time frame.
Q. What information do I need to provide when booking a rail pass? Do the names on the rail pass and the passports have to match?
A. When you book your rail pass, you will need to provide us with your first and last name, exactly as they appear on your passport. The name you enter will appear on your rail pass and will be verified by a railway official when you activate the rail pass. In addition, some rail passes are pre-activated and require you to enter the first date of travel.
Q. Why does my train ticket say “coach” if I bought a ticket in the First class or Premier Category?
A. Don’t worry – the word “coach” on the ticket is another word for train car. It doesn’t mean you’ll be traveling in “coach” class.
Q. How fast can I receive my travel documents?
A. After your booking has been invoiced, you should receive your tickets and/or rail passes within 2-7 business days. In some locations, express overnight delivery may be available for an additional cost.
If you booked e-tickets, you should receive an email and ticket instructions shortly after your booking is confirmed.
Q. What should I do if I am downgraded due to equipment issues, or affected by a traffic disruption or a strike?
A. If your travel is affected by circumstances beyond your control, such as a strike or mechanical problems, the railroad will often put in place measures to compensate travellers.
If a train is canceled by the railroads due to a mechanical issue and alternate transportation has not been offered or you decline the alternate transportation, then a railway official at the origin station must cancel your seat and they must stamp the back of your ticket/reservation “Not Used Due to Mechanical Issue” before the original train departure time.
Our partners at the European Railroads will not allow us to process a refund unless this step has been taken.
Please send the ticket to our Customer Relations department within 30-days from the train departure date so that they can process any applicable refund.
Q. How far in advance can I buy my rail pass?
A. A rail pass can be purchased anywhere from 6 to 11 months prior to your first travel day. We advise you to check the specific conditions of use for the pass you are interested in.
Q. I selected a ticket but when I went to place my booking, the price changed. I went back to search for train tickets and saw the same price listed again in the results. Why did this happen?
A. For most trains, the price quoted is based on “live” availability, however, for certain trains we cannot check fare availability at the time of quotation due to the technical limitations of the international rail distribution system. Therefore, we use a stored price to build your quote, based on previously confirmed fares for the trip you requested.
In rare cases, we find out that the fare used for quoting your trip is no longer available upon confirming your reservation. At that time, we receive a new price from the system based on that very moment’s availability.
Unfortunately, due to these same technical limitations, we are unable to update the stored price for a specific train, even if we find out at the time of confirmation that a fare is no longer available.
Rest assured that we’re working actively to ensure that all prices quoted to you are based on live availability and limit the usage of stored prices for quotation purposes.